Edinburgh Fringe 2009
The Legend of Kaulula’au
Inamona Theatre Company
Venue: The Spaces at Royal College of Surgeons
A play by Maui Keali‘iwahine Hodoana retells in a one-person piece of theatre the story of an adventurous royal child who confronted the demons of Lana’I and became the chief of Maui.
Moses Goods III is an accomplished performer and story teller. And in The Legend of Kaulula‘au, we are transported into a world of Pacfic island folk tradition. All the ingredients for an engaging story are here – A child born to a woman who has been resurrected from the dead; a boy who has been banished to Lana‘i, an island inhabited by ghosts; there are heroes, there is love, there is loss, there is learning, and, in the end, a man becomes a chief of his people.
Moses Goods stands before is in traditional costume, a simple set transports us to his homeland. We are greeted: Aloha, and invited to respond. The tale begins, and Goods becomes a whole string of characters – we confront life, death and meet more than a few ghosts and spirits along the way. Quests arte undertaken and fulfilled, and we also immerse ourselves in the culture of Good’s world, and an oral tradition passed down through the generations.
Goods is a young actor and yet manages to effectively portray different ages from this side of the grave, and the other! Much reference is made to names and phrases in his original language and this sometimes makes the piece a little confusing, though his diction is terrific. But don’t worry, you’ll soon pick up the story and be engrossed in the tale, even if you don’t understand every detail.
The performance is at times, wonderfully still, with just vocal skill and eye expression enough to carry the narrative. At other times the performance is more physical and outwardly dramatic. The writing allows the story to flow easily and time passes quickly. The portayal of the ghosts is comical and also a little unnerving at the same time.
Overall, a highly recommended piece of story-theatre from a tradition that is full of richness, humour and heart.